Attributes of strength with pain:
Strength isn’t always about how strong you are physically. Strength can be found in any area of life: physical, emotional, and mental. Sometimes mental strength is all you have left to pull you through.
The brain is an amazing machine. People can survive the most incredible battles in life due entirely to the mental strength they have not to give up. Unfortunately, I often find myself battling with my mind because I’m tired, I hurt, and I just want to give up for the day. I want to go and hide in my corner but my mind refuses to let me. Have you ever had a fight with yourself mentally? You never win or lose, it’s always both. A constant battle of wills.
Stress is a huge trigger for me, both for migraines and pain. There are days the pain and aches get so bad I feel like I can’t stand it any longer, but really, what does that even mean? It’s not like my body is going to say, “Ok boys, she’s done! Pack it all away until tomorrow!” Haha I wish! I can’t stand it any longer, but I have to. I can medicate, and believe me I do. I’m one of those with a very high pain tolerance threshold, but I still need a break. Bring on the happy pills! Even with medication, you feel better for the time being but you’re also in a fog, tired, blah. You can’t help but wonder if it’s worth it. You may not hurt, but you miss out on everything else.
Can’t You Understand?
Unless you go through it, there is no way to describe how much mental stress pain puts on you. People around you think you are being rude, because you are so focused on working through the pain you can’t talk, or you seem grouchy or moody. You try to explain but they never understand, so you just stop bothering. Let them think you are mean. You hurt too much to care….but really, you do care. More pain. More hurt. I spent a lot of years sitting alone at my kids’ events. People thought I was rude when in fact I was just trying to ignore the pain I was in so my children would know I was there for them. What they do not know is that I chose NOT to take the medications because I wanted some coherence in spite of the pain.
Mental stress from pain, to me, is just as bad if not worse than the pain itself. The pain goes away, but the mental issues do not. When you finally have a day you don’t hurt that bad you worry about when it will come back and how bad it will be. When you do hurt you put all of your focus into making it through. Endless loop day after day. It’s so frustrating! Especially when you don’t have the support of a spouse or a significant other. You’re still expected to keep up the house, have a job, run errands, keep him happy, not be moody or argue, keep up with dishes, etc, etc. All you want to do is crawl in the corner and hide for the next few days and pray someone takes care of you before you disappear into the darkness.
Maintaining A Positive Outlook:
Fortunately I am older now, which means my kids are older, so only my youngest son is at home, and he is 17. He has never seen me any other way so to him my pain is normal. He doesn’t understand I used to be different. The pain changed me. The woman I am now is not the woman I started out to be, so to my son, I am just mom. Bad days happen and I often need help. He knows that is the way things are.
Having a good support group cannot be stressed enough. I am blessed to have my children, my mom and dad, my sister, and some friends I can call on when I’m have a particularly bad day. Even my doctor. We’ve known each other for over 20 years, so I can trust that he will do his best to care for me. Hopefully you all have good support as well. Join support groups online. Write blogs. 🙂 Do what you can to find a light at the end of the tunnel, one second at a time.